Academy Alliance


Salvael Estrada: Co-Founder

A professional world percussionist, a graphic designer, and a corporate strategy student, Salvael brings a balance between creativity and structured business thinking to the Innovation Academy. His experience ranges from running small design and tech start-ups in his native Mexico to working for companies like Monitor Group, Intuit, Intel, and Fundacion Paraguaya. Passionate about entrepreneurship in emerging markets, Salvael’s goal is to bring a real political and economic change to these countries through the strategic application of innovation principles and tools.

Daniel Falabella: Co-Founder

As a young teenager, Daniel was offered $15 by his father with the condition to double it in a month. Since then, he has started three different companies in Latin America, consulted for startups (to structure their business model), and has developed a passion in finding pains worth solving.  He considers his internship with Deloitte & Touche in the San Francisco office to be one of the highlights of his life.  He is currently studying Business Management with a Strategy emphasis and is enrolled in the prestigious and selective Crocker Innovation Fellowship program at BYU.


Devin Basinger: Co-President

After taking two semesters of History of Creativity, Devin realized that innovation in society only disappears when we become complacent with our progress or stop devoting time and effort to creativity. He is excited to help further innovation at BYU through the Innovation Academy.

Devin first became involved with entrepreneurship as a 7 year old when his mother started the first of many home based businesses and enlisted the help of Devin and his siblings.  He has continued to assist with several start-up companies as a BYU student. Devin has enjoyed internships with eBay Inc. and the EPA. When he has extra time, he enjoys reading and camping!

Currently pursuing a B.S. in Business Management – Strategy Emphasis, with a minor in Communications; Devin will graduate in 2013.

Dix Densley: Co-President

Growing up just minutes away from the World Headquarters of Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and Intel Dix is no stranger to innovation in product development and marketing. World-renowned innovators like Randy Steck (Vice President of Intel, Dix’s Bishop), and John Thorbeck (CEO Bass Shoes, Dix’s Neighbor) each played a significant role in his personal development.

When Dix was first introduced to the Innovation Academy there was an immediate appeal. Having been raised by a successful father, who was a serial entrepreneur in the dentistry field, the idea of interdisciplinary collaboration in an environment as intellectually rich as BYU just made sense.

Dix loves being involved with the Innovation Academy at large, but especially with the Core group. Helping the brightest students of every college come together to add value to the world they will inevitably become the leaders of has been the most cherished experiences of his BYU career.

Matt Roberts: Vice President

Matt was raised on a working horse and cattle ranch in Lakeshore, Utah.  Despite his very traditional and rural upbringing, Matt developed a passion for entrepreneurship at an early age.  Some of his early accomplishments include being named Chess Champion of the 6th grade, raising and showing a top-ranking show-calf in the Lakeshore Stock Show, and obtaining the Sterling Scholar Award for debate and drama at Spanish Fork High School.

After returning from his mission in California, Matthew was first accepted into the Marriott School of Management, and then the Strategy Emphasis.  His passions in life include technology start-ups, horse training, river rafting, science fiction, and courtship.  Matt currently works as a Training Specialist at the Missionary Training Center.

Chad Sloan: Vice President

Chad Sanders Sloan has always had a passion for everything creative.  His childhood consisted of creating massive projects out of Legos, wood, or anything he could get his hands on.  Chad loves skateboarding, camping, playing piano, guitar, and singing R & B. He has lived his life colorblind and left-handed. Once, he tried out for the BYU football team, but didn’t make it. However, he learned that he wanted to use the power of his mind instead of his physical body.  Throughout his life, Chad has been exposed to cultural influences from around the world through traveling, living with his family in Quito, Ecuador, and serving a full-time mission in Madrid, Spain.

While studying here at BYU his path has taken several turns that have led him to further develop his love for innovation.  Chad is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Business Strategy.  Chad has sought to develop an interdisciplinary approach to solving pertinent issue through innovation.  He plans to pursue a career, leveraging both his strategic thinking and biomedical experiences, in order to provide new technologies to improve efficiency in the healthcare industry through consulting and eventually starting his own innovative biotech firm. He has published work in the field of viral auto-immunity as part of research in molecular biology. He has also conducted research in small company valuation methodologies. He has worked with several student-run startups with varying degrees of success in the technology, social media, and services sectors.  Chad believes in lean-startup principles and the business model cycle.  He works to connect people, ideas, and passions together in order to create new projects and ventures.  He cannot wait for his next adventure!

Chloe JensenVice President

Chloe considers herself a Jill of all trades. She enjoys everything from statistics to painting and has recently developed a blogging hobby. Recently married, she also loves decorating her new apartment and looking at food on Pinterest and occasionally cooking it. Torn between her love for mathematics and art, she settled on a business strategy major to satisfy her love for problem-solving. And also because it was the least pigeonholed major she could find.

Chloe loves the opportunity she has to work with such a wide variety of ideas at the Innovation Academy. She is thrilled by the concept of associative thinking and how each individual’s experiences allow for different perspectives. As someone who has worked in graphics, gymnastics, and geriatrics, understanding unique perspectives is something she can appreciate. She hopes she can share her passion for innovative thinking with all those who share similarly different experiences throughout the BYU community.

Advisory Board

Jeff Dyer

Dr. Dyer’s research and consulting has focused on innovation, change, alliances, and effective collaboration, both within and across organizations. He is the only strategy scholar in the world to have published five times in Strategic Management Journal (the top academic journal in strategy) and Harvard Business Review (the top practitioner journal). His research has been very impactful, as evidenced by the fact that Dr. Dyer was recognized by Essential Science Indicators as the 17th most cited scientist (1996-2006) in the combined fields of management, finance, marketing, operations, and economics. He was ranked as the 4th most cited management scholar. His research has won awards from the Academy of Management, Institute of Management Science, Strategic Management Society, and McKinsey & Company. His Oxford book,Collaborative Advantage, was awarded the Shingo Prize Research Award.

Nathan Furr

Dr. Furr earned his PhD from Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University and is currently an entrepreneurship professor at Brigham Young University (recently ranked in the top five entrepreneurship programs nationally).  Nathan has acted as the founder or advisor to startups in web 2.0, clean technology, professional services, retail and financial services industries. Nathan also sits on the investment board of the Kickstart Seed Fund, an innovative early-stage venture fund and is an expert contributor to Forbes. Nathan also worked as a consultant at Monitor Group, a premiere international strategy consulting firm, working with senior executives on a range of strategic and market discovery initiatives.

Taylor Halverson

Dr. Halverson has been working with faculty or as a faculty member in higher education since 1994. His experience in designing and presenting ranges from short “Tips & Tricks” documents to full-fledged curriculum roll-outs for multiple courses, using blended learning approaches. His curriculum experience includes an award-winning course entitled “Resurrecting Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims Past and Present.” To round out his experience, Taylor spent several years in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley, CA. While working for Cisco (the world’s leading internet hardware company), Taylor designed creative learning experiences for customer service agents spread across the globe.

Education Includes:

  • Ph.D., Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University
  • Ph.D., Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity, Indiana University
  • M.S., Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University
  • M.A., Biblical Studies, Yale University
  • B.A., Near Eastern Studies, Brigham Young University
Christopher A. Mattson

Dr. Mattson is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU). He received his B.S. (1999) and M.S. (2001) from the Mechanical Engineering Department at BYU, and his Ph.D. (2003) from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research on multiobjective/multidisciplinary optimization and decision-making in engineering design has been published in various international journals and has been presented at international conferences and invited lectures in the US and abroad. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award and has been awarded three US Patents.

Rick West

Rick West is an assistant professor in the Instructional Psychology & Technology department at Brigham Young University teaching instructional design, research writing, program evaluation, and K-16 technology integration. Dr. West has studied learning communities and how to assess/evaluate learning, performance, and innovation within a given community.  He is currently actively researching Communities of Innovation, a framework for understanding group innovative processes, as well as techniques for improving online collaborative learning.  He has also done research on K-16 technology integration strategies.

His work has been published in Educational Technology Research & Development, Instructional Science, Internet and Higher Education, Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, American Journal of Distance Education, Creativity Research Journal, Handbook of Educational Communications Technology, and Handbook of Distance Education.

Kenneth Loder

KC’s exposure to innovation has come through work on projects in a variety of industries including internal efforts at a Fortune 100 financial services company, a national reference laboratory and leader in research affiliated with the University of Utah, and a local non-profit youth program.  While pursuing undergraduate studies KC began a series of research focused on capability development in international expansion, which he continues to this day. KC is an Analyst at Innosight a global strategy and innovation consulting firm focused on developing and driving transformational growth. KC holds a B.S. in Business Management-Strategy from Brigham Young University.

Jeff Schwarting

Jeff has successfully launched and sold two companies in the past (both of which continue in profitable operation under their new owners): EvenFarther and Adviral. His expertise in the Nail It then Scale It process has led him to win 1st place in the Business Plan Tech Competition, 3rd place in the BYU Plan Competition, and 2nd place in the BYU Business Fair Competition, in addition to being a semi-finalist in the International Business Model Competition and in the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. Jeff holds a B.S. in Business Management-Entrepreneurship from Brigham Young University.


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